Somerset Wildlife Trust has had a serious Spring in its step this last week as it has put its plans to create a mini urban wildlife space at its Taunton HQ into action. Initial small works have taken place including the installation of feeding stations, bird boxes and hedgehog boxes; a wildlife pond has been dug by staff and volunteers and is ready for the installation of a donated pond liner; and bug tower blocks and compost stacks are now ready for residents and to be filled.
There was however a huge transformation on the site as Hi-Line Contractors (SW) Ltd spent the day removing 12 non-native cypress trees on the site. As well as being a potential health and safety issue for users of the walkways in the neighbouring areas, they were also shading a small orchard area in the garden. A section of native hedgerow will be planted in their place which will provide more nesting and feeding sites for wildlife.
The Trust’s Director of Land Management, Tim Youngs explains why creating the space is so important:
“There are many benefits in developing what we are now are viewing as a pocket-sized nature reserve. Having an office in the centre of a busy town means that footfall past the office is high. It’s the Trust’s mission to educate a broader audience about our work, and to inspire people who may not have thought of themselves as nature enthusiasts to get more involved in making small changes for wildlife, and nothing can do this better than leading by example and demonstrating what might well be possible on their own doorstep.
Whilst our larger rural nature reserves are obviously very important in developing larger-scale habitats for large populations of vulnerable species, for example, we still have to ensure that their movement between these sites is made possible by connecting our reserves to other green spaces around the country, ensuring species can move, find food and breed. Urban environments in particular present mobility challenges for wildlife, and we want to explain to people that their own natural space, whether large or small, town or country represents a potential safe stepping stone to the next green space – even if it only helps one hedgehog get to the next garden or a butterfly navigate alongside a busy road – many little changes come together to make big differences to wildlife.
“In addition to this, on a basic level we also want our staff to be happier and healthier at work, and feel that having an inspiring wildlife space to spend time in whether having a meeting, or just having a break, will go a long way towards improving staff focus and concentration. We hope that by doing this for our own employees we can demonstrate to other businesses that it is something of value and which they may well come to us for advice on themselves. It will also become a more exciting place for visitors to explore when we hold creative workshops or wildplay sessions at the office.”
Hi-Line has an existing relationship with the Somerset Wildlife Trust, with the Trust’s reserves becoming Hi-Line’s preferred locations for many of its core training modules.
The wood generated from the felled trees won’t go to waste. Some will be going to build seating at Lisieux Way Methodist Church, where the Trust have teamed up with the Taunton association for the Homeless to develop a wildlife garden for the homeless, and the rest will be turned into Forest School seating for children at Priorswood Primary School.
An extra thank-you goes to Butyl Products Group (BPG) who has kindly donated the pond liner for the wildlife pond.
Are you someone that would like to support our wildlife garden?
Somerset Wildlife Trust is still looking for donations for the garden. If you are a local supplier of any of the following things, we would love to hear from you about any donations you might be able to make; wooden garden seating/ benches (FSC), wildflower plants, pond plants or local apple trees. Please contact Tim Youngs directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.